It’s tough being a start-up company. The need for access to technology and capital can lead many budding companies to fail. The turning point can sometimes be through the power of your network, one that Impellia and U-M worked hard to create.
Impellia’s leadership had a number of connections at the University of Michigan, some of them key members of the Athletics department. Even with those connections, the hurdles of undertaking sponsored research projects were large for an early stage start-up like Impellia. It was funding from the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) that made this opportunity a reality.
Impellia applied for and received funding through the Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) through MCRN to undertake a research initiative at any public university in the state of Michigan. SCIP is designed to give small companies a boost when it comes to access to advanced university research that often is out of reach for small companies without significant connections, funds or a deep product platform.
One of Impellia’s signature products, StrikeFoot, is a mobile gait assessment tool, that can be
validated through this sponsored research at the School of Kinesiology Performance Research Laboratory. Impellia is also using the grant for research at Eastern Michigan University. The company’s relationship with Athletics also connects them with coaches and trainers to provide feedback on the technology.
Richard Walker, Co-Founder at Impellia, says, “The resources and commitment through MCRN and U-M are extremely valuable to us. It allows us to do a lot more with very precious resources. It goes beyond just the money. It’s the other resources: providing additional market data and
reviewing go-to-market strategy, and the coordination with the university and with the researchers in the state.”
He encourages other companies to explore this resource: “For startups in the area, you can get valuable assistance in taking your thought/concept/early stage company to the next level. Not only that, but you can tap into some of the brightest minds in academic research in the country – and they’re right here – with a very supportive and receptive audience. MCRN found ways to work with us, not deny us. They have been tremendous.”